Aspire Mining has entered into an agreement with Noble Group, one of its major shareholders and financiers, to exercise its option to acquire the remaining 50% of the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (ECJV). The transaction will increase Aspire’s interest in ECJV’s Nuurstei Coking Coal Project in northern Mongolia to 90%.
The agreement will also result in Aspire restructuring existing debt and interest obligations.
In connection with these transactions, Spectral Investments, a company associated with director and substantial shareholder Neil Lithgow, and Bat-Erdene Khadbaasan, a substantial shareholder in Aspire, have agreed to convert amounts drawn down by the company under a short-term debt facility into equity.
Each of these transactions is subject to Aspire completing a proposed capital raising and approval of Aspire shareholders being obtained at a general meeting expected to be held in July.
The transactions are expected to strengthen Aspire’s balance sheet by:
· Aspire acquiring an additional 45% beneficial interest in the Nuurstei project;
· Consolidating and extending existing debt facilities out to August 2019;
· Adding up to A$4 million in cash pursuant to the capital raising; and
· Facilitating the issue of approximately A$2.6 million in equity in lieu of cash payments.
Aspire says these are important steps in the recapitalisation and repositioning of the company as a near-term Mongolian coking coal miner from the Nuurstei project while developments continue for the Erdenet to Ovoot Rail Project.
The remaining 50% of ECJV will be acquired for a cash consideration of US$1 million and the grant of a royalty in respect to future production of saleable coking coal from Nuurstei.
The cash consideration can be satisfied through the issue of US$1 million in equity securities on the same terms as any such securities are proposed to be offered pursuant to the capital raising.
The Nuurstei project has been approved for registration in Mongolia and the process of receiving a 30-year mining licence is well advanced.